France: a third of Macron’s En Marche parliamentary candidates are political novices

34% of the candidates French President Emmanuel Macron’s La République en Marche party is putting forward for France’s parliamentary elections are political rookies, said Le Monde.
French President Emmanuel Macron en marche
French President Emmanuel Macron

France goes to the polls again on Sunday for the first round of the legislative elections, and if newly elected President Emmanuel Macron and his movement En Marche have any hope of uniting and rebuilding France, he will need a majority in parliament. Recent polls show that may be exactly what he’s going to get.

‘The first election Emmanuel Macron ever fought – to become President of the 5th French Republic – was hardly minor.’ Like him, the party claim, 281 candidates from his movement-turned-party ‘La République en Marche’ – The Republic on the Move – hope to become elected without ever having previously held office.

‘Half politicians, half new faces’ was En Marche’s campaign promise regarding the party’s parliamentary candidates. Le Monde has gone through each of the 525 candidates records, and it seems that many of the new candidates aren’t as new to politics as first thought.

Not the first campaign.
In fact, 30 of the 281 supposed ‘new faces’ have already fought an election campaign. They just didn’t win.

And 20 of the new candidates have already held office as representatives of other – primarily left and centrist – parties.

As Emmanuel Macron knows, ‘elections aren’t the only way to step into the political universe.’ After all, he was able to rise to the rank of Minister of the Economy without ever having a popular mandate.

Emmanuel Macron as Minister of the Economy, Las Vegas, 2015. en marche Robyn Beck/AFP
Emmanuel Macron as Minister of the Economy, Las Vegas, 2015. Robyn Beck/AFP

‘At least 14 candidates have collaborated in ministerial cabinets (10 on the left, 4 on the right) and 8 others have worked in ministries.’

There are also 12 parliamentary assistants – of MPs or senators – up for election, and 15 candidates who have worked with elected regional officials.

In total, at least 70 of La République en Marche’s ‘new faces’ have ‘held parapolitical positions during their careers; they are unlikely to get lost in the corridors of power.’

Politics. A family affair.
Several of the candidates running for office for the first time have family in politics.

Barbara Bessot Ballot – up for election in Haute-Sâone – is married to the mayor of Marnay in the same region, and Hugues Renson – running in Paris’ 13th arrondissement – can count on advice form his mother, who is on the capital’s city council.

One third of real novices.
‘Taking onto account those that have participated in electoral campaigns, worked in ministerial offices, or have close family members already working in politics,’ 178 of the 525 La République en Marche candidates are complete political novices.